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Inspiring Creativity - DNA at the MAA #DoDifferent Awards

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What’s the best way to inspire creativity? By embracing others and their ideas; and throwing a huge party of course! Before reading on, please view our Creative Agency jobs in London page where you will find Senior Account Manager, Digital Marketing, Strategist roles advertised.

On March 2nd we celebrated the brave work in advertising and marketing with the (Marketing Agencies Association) MAA #DoDifferent Awards.    This event was different as it was a takeover of London's The Brewery (near Barbican) with a full day of activity leading up to the awards in the evening.  The day took shape from a variety of content all linked to the theme of #DoDifferent -  40 minute sessions that included panels, workshops and keynote speakers in addition to a gallery style exhibition of all of the finalists’ work.  Not something that is normally seen from an awards event - bringing the behind the scenes to the forefront of the day.  

In case you missed it, the sessions were varied and full of information:

The Senior Client Panel: why we buy #DoDifferent work – In this first session we listened to senior clients talk about what it takes to buy brave work touching on the Cadbury's Gorilla, You've been Tango'd and a few others.

The panel included Tim Hulbert, managing director, group head of insight and research, Barclays, Phil Rumbol, founding partner, 101, former marketing director, Cadbury and Tim Brooks, director at Muzeable and former group brand director at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.  Andrew Marsden, the MAA’s client consultant and former marketing director at Britvic, invited questions from the crowd for a full on Q&A discussions around buying and selling brave work.  And they explored how to build relationships with agencies.

Through Creating Fame: the art of PR and working with the trade press we gained insight on how to create fame for ourselves and our agencies as Maisie McCabe, acting editor of Campaign Mag, was interviewed by Richard Robinson, managing partner at Oystercatchers.  

Conversation revolved around growing brands through innovation and touched on how to get to the top of the pile; what's best interesting to a broad audience; building relationships and managing expectations; thought leadership; and it got a bit more personal when the floor was opened to questions like "what gets to you [Maisie]?" 

Her top tip for getting your story out there was to come early – with details and to check deadlines…help the journalists help you.

#DoDifferent Diversity - don't fall into the "same same" trap – was about understanding how diversity in the agency will produce the best work.

A second panel discussion, chaired by Hugh Robertson and Rania Robinson, the MAAs joint Chairs of Diversity.  Trevor Robinson OBE, executive creative director at Quiet Storm; Pauline Wilson, operations director at Virgin Holidays; Richard Robinson, and Mark Runacus, CSO – data and insight at Karmarama and founding member of PrideAM all divulged personal stories about diversity within the industry and how it's touched their lives.  We considered the absence of diversity in organizations and how it hinders work.  More specifically the fundamental do different work and understanding that building in diversity can inherently inspire creative work.  Bringing to light and driving home the fact that we need to encourage greater diversity and equality in the industry because it all has a direct impact on standards.  Hugh rightly said “Change starts here, with us; it’s necessary and unacceptable not to change.”

The Guardian hosted an inspiring Copywriting Masterclass.

Jo Payton very kindly offered her time, wit and often humorous advice on writing copy.  

Her top tips in producing the best:
1. Laughter - inject a bit a humour when and if you can; 
2. Compelling content - be excited about your content or no one else will be; 
3. Don't be an island - it may be your story but you should include others;
4. Keep a bank of ideas written down.

At our Speed Mentoring session, a lucky few had a chance to meet the great and good from the industry to gain insight and career advice.

Mentors included:

David MeikleTim Bourne, Cat Davis, Graham Kemp, Katie Grosvenor, and Andrew Marsden.

No topic was off limits and just like the ol’speed dating scene we gained what we could, in the allotted time and rotated at the sound of the buzzer.  Groups touched on topics like agencies coming together, inclusion and how diversity is actually dependent on inclusion, managerial styles, cultural differences in relation to cross country working, and the digital age and brand trust - where are we with pure art v science; and finally how the Mad Men age was pure creative and brave!

The Judges Panel – GreenJam Event was the last session of the day hosted by Ian Darby, Head of Content MAA.  We were given the inside scoop on what to do, what not to do and how to really make an impression with awards juries straight from the judges themselves!  

The panel included:
Cordell Burke, creative managing partner, bigdog Agency

Philip Slade, strategy director, Keko

Josette James, managing director, PSONA

David Harris, executive creative director, Gyro London

For all those entering in the future this was one not to miss as we heard honestly what sets a first impression apart.  We learned the worst entries didn’t match the visuals to the written content and that “best” is a crap word to use when judging as each judge sees what’s ‘best’ about an entry differently.  We were reminded to think about the audience and to be straightforward – let the quality of the work shine.   I think it was summed up nicely by Josette James, who said think about your entry with the four C’s as if you were buying a diamond:

  1. Cut – is it the right entry?

  2. Carat – is it big enough to be award winning?

  3. Colour – make it look good and keep it simple with words and visuals.

  4. Clarity – be clear and concise.

Truly award winning advice from those in the know in the industry. 

It’s not everyday you get up close and personal with adland.  What is viewed as a multi-layered and often murky issue surrounding the industry has positive potential - diversity can be so much more than conversations.   Inspiring advice, innovative agencies and creative minds were highlighted with an exceptional exhibition of creative work.  Fun to judge for ourselves and then guess which would be crowned with the awards later in the evening.   But that’s another story. 

For more on diversity and creativity click here

To see a full list of the award winners and their innovated work .